Meet Nintendo developer Katsuya Eguchi, who created Animal Crossing after being inspired by the loneliness of moving to a new city, making it the perfect social distancing companion

Vince Bucci/Invision for Nintendo/AP ImagesKatsuya Eguchi speaks onstage during the Nintendo All-Access Presentation on June 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
  • Nintendo’s newest game, “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” launched on March 20 and has already sold millions of copies and provided the perfect escape for those socially distancing themselves from loved ones amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Katsuya Eguchi, a Japanese game designer, was inspired to create the series after feeling isolated when he moved away from home at age 21 to work at Nintendo headquarters in 1986. The game explores themes of family, friendship, and community.
  • Eguchi, now a senior producer and deputy general manager at Nintendo, has led production of all Animal Crossing iterations, and other beloved games like Wii Sports.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


Daily life across the globe has been completely upended by the coronavirus pandemic — and millions have taken solace in the recently released “Animal Crossing: New Horizons” life simulator game for the Nintendo Switch.

Nintendo‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons.’

Source: Business Insider,Forbes


The game was created by Nintendo developer Katsuya Eguchi. He has been with the gaming giant since 1986.

Vince Bucci/Invision for Nintendo/AP ImagesKatsuya Eguchi speaks onstage during the Nintendo All-Access Presentation on June 5, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Source: Nintendo Life


In a 2006 interview, Eguchi said he wanted the game to be family-oriented: “This was something that the kids could play after school, and I could play when I got home at night, and I could kind of be part of what they were doing while I wasn’t around.”

‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’/Nintendo‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons.’

Source: Gamasutra


Eguchi developed the idea for the game when reflecting on the lonely feeling of moving, completely alone, to a new city.

William Antonelli/Business Insider‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons.’

Source: Nintendo Life


Raised in Chiba, Japan, Eguchi moved hundreds of miles away to Kyoto at 21 to begin working at Nintendo’s headquarters in 1986. The loneliness in this period of his life served as his inspiration for Animal crossing.

brunocoelho/ShutterstockA view of Kyoto with Osaka in the distance at sunset in January 2020.

Source: Nintendo Life


There was a “kind of a desire to create a space where my family and I could interact more, even if we weren’t playing together,” he said in a 2006 interview. The newest Nintendo Switch version of the game allows players to do just that, and visit other players’ islands.

‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons’/Nintendo‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons.’

Source: Gamasutra


The first iteration of Animal Crossing was released in 2001, and its sole objective was to explore the themes of family, friendship, and community.

NintendoAnimal Crossing was first made for Nintendo 64 and Game Cube.

Source: IMDb


“Animal Crossing: New Horizons” is part of that long-running franchise. In the newest iteration, players simulate life on a deserted island. The objective of the game is to build a home, make friends, and for the most part, enjoy mundane daily activities.

Nintendo‘Animal Crossing: New Horizons.’

Source: Business Insider


Before using his personal experiences to fuel the basis of Animal Crossing, Eguchi helped design Super Mario Bros. 3 and Starfox in the 1990s.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesEguchi at the 2012 E3 conference.

Source: Wired


“The games I made before Animal Crossing were always pretty tough to finish,” Eguchi once said. “I wanted to make games … really that everyone could play.” There are no levels to beat in Animal Crossing, just a virtual life to be lived.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty ImagesKatsuya Eguchi.

Source: Gamasutra


Eguchi also created 2006’s beloved Wii Sports and assisted with the creation of other fan favourites like versions of The Legend of Zelda and Splatoon.

Sara D. Davis/Getty ImagesA man playing Wii Sports.

Source: Britannica

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